by Bishop Rick Lewers, Senior Minister, Anglican Bishop of Armidale
Consideration of a nation’s future is a time for God’s people to seek, praise, meditate on and trust in the God who will be vindicated in all things.
“God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You. I thirst for You; my body faints for You in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water. So I gaze on You in the sanctuary to see Your strength and Your glory. My lips will glorify You because Your faithful love is better than life. So I will praise You as long as I live; at Your name, I will lift up my hands. You satisfy me as with rich food; my mouth will praise You with joyful lips. When I think of You as I lie on my bed, I meditate on You during the night watches because You are my helper; I will rejoice in the shadow of Your wings. I follow close to You; Your right hand holds on to me.”—Psalm 63:1-8
David pens this Psalm amidst the darkness of an attack on his leadership and the leadership of the nation of Israel. Five things are worth noticing.
Firstly, this Psalm is a prayer, and it begins with the words, “God, you are my God; I eagerly seek you.” God’s King prays because God’s King understands his dependence upon and accountability to God. As the King prays so he sets the example for his people.
David is literally living in dry and desolate places as he composes the Psalm. His soul thirsts and his body faints for God and so he sets his gaze to the place, to the sanctuary, that brings God’s strength and glory into focus. Of course, the Christian’s gaze is set on Christ as our sanctuary. Amidst a battle for leadership, the second thing to notice is that David seeks God because God is the strong and glorious one. God is dependable and able to do more than any leader could ask or imagine.
The third thing this Psalm offers is the truth that “God’s faithful love is better than life”—a love that issues in praise. Charles Spurgeon writes, “Life is dear, but God’s love is dearer. To dwell with God is better than life at its best. The withdrawal of the light of his countenance is as the shadow of death to us. Life is to many people a doubtful good; loving-kindness is an unquestioned boon; life is but transient, mercy is everlasting; life is shared by the lowest animals, but the loving-kindness of the Lord is the especial portion of the chosen.”
There is nothing like a restless night when the mind is filled with fearful adversaries and shattered circumstances. If pillows could speak, imagine the dark meditation of the sleepless that they could share. Like most leaders and their constituents, David’s pillow could speak of dreadful personal sin, but in Psalm 63 it speaks of his fears for the future of the nation. No wonder David prays to God, seeks God, praises God—and fourthly, meditates on God. Listen to these words: “When I think of you as I lie on my bed, I meditate on you during the night watches because you are my helper.”
Elections can really unsettle people. As campaigns use fear to motivate, blur truth, create insecurity, leave some cynical and others depressed, the comfort of the Psalmist’s meditations is that God is our helper.
In uncertain times and places there is no more comforting meditation than God being our help and our strength. The Psalms are the song book of the King, and each and every Psalm anticipates the ultimate King—the Christ.
Remember Him. Put to death by evil, saving his people from their sin, vindicated in resurrection, enthroned forever. That’s worth our meditation because the fifth and most wonderful truth in this Psalm is that God will be vindicated.
God, our God. Amidst times when people feel uncertain, insecure or fearful, please return the heart of this nation to the comforts you offer in Christ Jesus our Lord. Such is your strength and glory. Help us individually and as a nation to seek you. As we seek you, please help us to find in you the source of all praise, and the joyful recognition that your faithful love is better than life. Cause us, our Lord and God, to meditate on your Word daily that all people might learn that you are our ever-present help in times of need. Irrespective of the outcome of the federal election, please grant your people the faith to rest in you, and to be assured that you will vindicate yourself among us. In the name of Christ, Amen.
Election Prayer Points
- Pray that God would rule over this election – that righteous leaders would be elected to govern this nation in truth and justice because, “When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice”. Proverbs 29:2
- Pray God’s blessing upon all our current parliamentarians and leaders, including their families and all the candidates of all the parties standing for this federal election. 1 Timothy 2:1-3
- Pray for a multiplication of prayer and unity across the Body of Christ in Australia that people will wake up to the dangers facing our nation and respond in prayer. Ephesians 5:14
- Pray for a Spiritual Awakening for Australia, Revival and Transformation for our nation and the proclamation of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. John 3:16
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